The departure of that nut Mark Kessler left Gilberton without a functioning police department, so now they’re just disbanding it:
Ordinance 2014-1 reads, “Whereas the council of the Borough of Gilberton has agreed that it can no longer maintain a police force with the borough. Now therefore be it hereby ordained that the police department established by Chapter 5 Article 4 of Ordinance No. 81-5 is hereby disbanded, and that section of the ordinance repealed.”
The borough has been without a police force since July 31, when police Chief Mark Kessler was suspended, being accused for allegedly using borough automatic weapons on his own time in YouTube videos without permission from the borough council or Mayor Mary Lou Hannon. Kessler contested the charge.
At the time of his suspension, Kessler was the only police officer. The Pennsylvania State Police has provided police enforcement since that time.
The borough and Kessler reached a negotiated settlement that was signed on Feb. 20 stating that Kessler is “separated from his employment and voluntarily retired.”
When a police department dissolves, it should be the county’s responsibility to pick up the slack, not the state police. We really need state lawmakers to make it a priority to increase the number of county police departments.
Most Pennsylvanians are served by janky part-time police departments and volunteer fire departments and that’s basically a tea person’s dream come true. If you’re a liberal, you care about high quality public services, and the biggest roadblock to scaling up better local public services in Pennsylvania is the fact that municipal governance is fragmented across 2562 local governments, most of whom have extremely low fiscal capacity and hilariously small tax bases.